Call to financially support women contractors

Friday, August 31, 2018

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo says one of the key instruments the country must use to empower women is the National Treasury’s directive that instructs provinces to ring-fence 30% of their human settlements budgets for women driven initiatives.

Mfeketo made the remarks during the Women in Human Settlements Indaba at the East London International Convention Centre on Thursday.

Women contractors from across the country converged in the Buffalo City Municipality to take stock of progress in fulfilling the department’s target of making sure that 30 percent of its R33 billion budget goes to designated groups.

The Department of Human Settlements and National Treasury have recently made sure that this condition is made clear in the Human Settlements Development Grant Framework of the Annual Division of Revenue Act, and is now audited by the Auditor General.

The indaba, which was attended by 650 delegates including all MECs, was aimed at identifying bottlenecks preventing provinces from achieving this target.

It also aimed to develop a clearly defined sector strategy and plan to realise the 30% target and to develop structured support for small and medium sized women-owned entities.

Mfeketo said there had to be meaningful economic benefits for women from the R33 billion human settlements annual budget.

“The need for real economic benefits for women across the value chain, not just in construction, is an urgent task that requires our united voice and collective effort.

“Women’s participation in construction could not only be limited to building government subsidised houses but also ensuring that they became suppliers of building materials so that they could become major role players in the sector,” Mfeketo said.

South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) President, Kile Mteto, said some of the challenges experienced by contractors include lack of material supply and access to funding.

“We struggle to get bridging finance and sometimes it becomes difficult to finish projects allocated to us. Lack of professionals in the field also hinders progress, as we need experts input into business plans and how to run a successful business,” Mteto said.

Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Mlungisi Mvoko encouraged delegates to monitor progress and implementation of the 30% allocation to women contractors.

“After August all must not be lost. We must monitor the progress as this will also reduce corruption as people will be forced to be accountable,” said Mvoko.

Women empowerment, Mvoko said, did not only contribute towards emancipating them financially but also contributed towards dealing with the scourge of abuse in society.

“An empowered woman is more able to deal with any potential abuse from the man and I call upon all of you to join hands with us as we fight this war declared by men on our women,” the MEC said. –